Happy day five of The Self-Love Series, and also the last day. Thank you all so much for reading, I had so much fun writing it for you all. Today I’m writing about My Self-Love Story – where it all started, why I decided to start on this journey, and how I’m doing on this journey today.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha
Who Was I Before My Self-Love Journey?
Before I started on this self-love journey, I was a teenage girl struggling with her mental health. I had no real concept of self-love. Of course I knew self-love was a thing. I especially dabbled in it when it came to my physical health (working out, yoga, eating healthy) and my appearance (doing my makeup, hair, and fashion), but today I consider this more self-care than self-love. I never dabbled in self-love when it came to my mental health, or learning about who my authentic self is, gaining my trust, being there for myself through tough times, and loving myself emotionally (the deeper stuff essentially). Which, I don’t blame myself for it. I was bound to learn it eventually, and I was only a teenager, still learning. I think genuine self-love was introduced to me at the right time in my life.
When I Realized I Needed To Change
I realized I needed to change when my mental health forced me to quit my job. If you’ve read My Anxiety Story, you would know how my generalized anxiety had morphed into repetitive panic attacks at work. Every time I’d go to work I’d be petrified I’d have another panic attack, which just thinking about them would trigger one. When I quit I became homebound and I struggled to do everyday things without the panic seeping in. This was a reality check for me. I was only seventeen, I couldn’t stay the way I was, I knew I had to change.
How I Knew Self-Love Was What I Needed
Having poor mental health made me look at myself in a different light. It made me question myself everyday – what triggered me to get worse? How can I get better? What am I in need of? What works for me and what doesn’t work for me? I questioned my entire life, my entire identity, how I did things, why I did the things I did, and why these things are making me feel the way I feel and behave the way I behave. It launched me into this self discovery journey that showed me who I really am, what I really need to be satisfied, and most importantly, what was missing from my life.
I realized I was missing myself. I needed myself to be there, but I wasn’t there, and didn’t know how to be there. I couldn’t trust I could go and do something and come out on the other side without being drenched in panic. I realized in order to heal there was a number of things I had to do. I had to learn to be more comfortable with myself, to trust myself, understand myself, be more gentle and compassionate with myself, and ultimately build a stronger relationship with myself. And it all started with self-love.
How I Got Started On My Self-Love Journey
I printed off self-love affirmations and taped them to the wall beside my bed. I made a heart banner to hang in my room, and on each heart there was a quote to inspire me, remind me of the good in life while I was in the dark, and keep me grounded and grateful. I read endless books, mainly on success and how I can transform my mindset and achieve the things I want to achieve. I did yoga and meditated on positivity and abundance. I reflected and sorted my thoughts in a journal. Answered self-discovery questions. There are so many things I did to dig deep into my mind I don’t know if I’d be able to list them all (listing them is one thing, remembering them is another). Something I’m proud of especially is during this time I was also being challenged by difficult relationships.
While I was being challenged by my own self, I was also being challenged by others, which made life all the more hard (as I felt like I needed all the support in the world considering what I was going through). But it also showed me what I’m capable of handling, what people are deserving of my attention, and what people aren’t. I went forward to surround myself with those who love me, support me, and treat me with respect. And gently put space between myself and those who did less so. When I was hurt by these people I would comfort myself and treat myself the way I knew I deserved to be treated. I became the main person who was there for me during all these hard times. Then, days turned into weeks, weeks into years, and I suddenly felt closer and more connected to myself than I ever had before.
How I’ve Transformed On This Journey
This has been the most transformative experience of my life thus far. It didn’t happen in a day. In fact, it took nearly four years, and I still have so much more progress to make. I speak to myself differently (with more kindness and compassion), I’m gentler with myself (this is something that sways. I often have to remind myself to be less hard on myself. It’s nonetheless improvement), I’m kinder towards others and more considerate of my words, I’m more positive, more trusting of myself, more confident in my ability to do things, more connected to my authentic self, I respect myself, I know my values, and I know my self-worth. I feel like the list would be longer but I think I got my point across.
Sometimes I think back to those negative nights back in 2014-2015 when I’d be crying after work, struggling, and some of the degrading things I’d say to myself and how I’d treat myself. If I said those things to myself today it would feel foreign and just… weird. It wouldn’t feel right. I definitely think how you talk to yourself is a skill. It takes time, discipline, and persistence to get better at it. There are still times where I don’t feel like I fully love myself and I don’t want to deal with myself, but I think those times are just little reminders to keep tending to my self-love, and to not give up. If I never have bumps in the road, I never have any opportunities to improve.
Where Am I Going From Here?
I know I’m still on this self-love journey, I’m only twenty and just a few days ago I was struggling, crying, questioning my life (for the billionth time), and beating myself up for ridiculous reasons. Life’s all about slipping, falling, getting back up and walking it off. And it’s the same with our love. Self-love is a lifelong practise and I don’t expect to reach any specific destination with it. All I hope for is to love myself to the best of my ability, and to spread that love outwards to others as well. 🙂
I hope my self-love story has inspired you on your journey to achieving happiness, inner connectedness, and ultimately love for yourself. Share your thoughts below. Thank you for being on this journey with me. x
The Outline of The Self-Love Series
Chapter Five: My Self-Love Story
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